Sustainable Salmon Fishing

Spotlight / Shoot Spotlight
Thomas Barwick
Amy Lehfeldt
Jan 30, 2020
At Getty Images, we are committed to evolving the visual narratives around pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle in the changing environment. We have pledged to communicate these stories to brands and consumers by showing how real people adapt to find a balance between the way they have been living and the need to transform for a more viable future. I discussed this complicated topic with native Seattle photographer Thomas Barwick who then was inspired to find a local story he could shoot. Being from the Pacific Northwest he contacted a heritage salmon fishing business that must maintain their livelihood while also protecting the natural wildness of Puget Sound. These fishermen are on the front lines of environmental issues like climate change, overfishing, and pollution. It’s in their best interest to protect marine life and thus their industry as a sustainable food source ‑ if the salmon are healthy and bountiful, the fishermen are too.  
This past fall, Barwick and crew drove to the end of Hood Canal to board a small fiberglass boat and travel over thirty miles down the waterway to shoot commercial salmon fishing on a large wooden Purse Seiner which was built in 1944. Framed by the majestic mountains of Olympic National Park and forests of Evergreens, they made their way out to the vessel watched closely by bald eagles, harbor seals and a marine patrol from Bangor Naval base. He shot from the small boat capturing the fishing crew who were hauling in a net of keta salmon which made for a beautiful wide shot of shimmering fish with a mountainous backdrop.  About an hour in, a marine biologist from Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife came aboard to monitor the catch. The fisherman told her “they hadn’t seen any Silvers or Kings yet”. The scientist is there to monitor the health of the run by performing a fish count with each haul of the net and then help determine how long the run stays open. The health of the run is a delicate balance that supports the needs of the fishermen, the community, the resident Orca population, with everyone doing their best to support each other.
Our creative department supports moving the visual narrative around environmental issues forward by not only humanizing it but re‑picturing an aspirational, values‑based culture that highlights individuals, communities, and businesses who are innovating and collaborating, and genuinely benefitting from sustainable initiatives.  
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